One big misconception about content marketing is that it should focus on promoting your products and services. Most small business owners invest in content marketing to discuss the advantages, quality, and all the right stuff related to their offer. This shortsightedness is completely and utterly wrong! Content marketing is about building an audience. Content marketing is not about you. It is about your audience. Shifting your focus from “promoting yourself” to “building an audience” will establish the actual value of your brand.
“You reap what you sow.”
For you to extract value from your audience, you must first invest in creating value for them. What do you think is the reason why visitors read your blog, follow your Facebook page or subscribe to your newsletter? The truth is that they’re not doing all of this to get a daily helping of advertisements and praise regarding your products. They’re there to learn, to be educated, to get relevant, useful information, which engages them and demonstrates value to them. Users subscribe to your social channels because they want your expertise. It’s by applying your knowledge that you create a substantial audience that consistently engages with your content.
Building Your Audience
Building an audience requires the execution of a savvy plan. You need four simple things to create engagement and build-up and sustain your company’s reach. These attributes are what we can consider the four pillars of content creation – Emotion, Information, Aspiration, and Identity. Let’s us explore each concept one by one to learn how each of these contribute to building your audience.
The first pillar to consider and perhaps the most important is how your content connects with people. What do they feel when they watch your video or read your article? In particular, emotion is what drives users to engage. With engagement, we establish more and more reach for our content. For example, a video about life hacks can go viral and drive more users to follow your page. A simple article about how to make use of standard day-to-day products to enhance productivity could be shared thousands of times by busy professionals. Content like this need not mention your product. In fact, the more you place and promote your services or products in these, the more users will avoid viewing your content. Emotion is important and to evoke one, you must provide users the information they want when they want it.
The second key ingredient in building an audience through content marketing is information. To do this accurately requires you evaluate what your users need. What are they looking for when they land on any of your channels? Understanding their needs may sound complicated, but you can deliver the right cocktail of content if you listen to your audience. Today, we have tools that allow us to generate analytics regarding our users and their engagement. Using these apps in the right way provides a vivid picture of what information users seek at any given time.
While distributing information is vital in the course of developing your content marketing strategy, it is imperative that you consider providing a balance between quantity and quality. One mistake most start-up and small businesses do is overloading their channels with way too much content. Information overload is not ideal because it will make your content difficult to digest for the audience. Focus on a particular niche and develop your content one piece at a time. You must remember that the content marketing race is not a sprint but a marathon. You have to focus on the long-term impact of your content. It may not result in an immediate increase in sales but over the long haul, it could become the driving force behind your brand’s reputation.
When content provides users something to make them better, it becomes engaging. To build desire in content is simply to create it with the aim of providing users something that could change and positively impact their lives. An ideal way to do this is by offering content that not only gives them what they are asking for, but also addresses the concept of what the customers wish to become. Once your content aligns your brand with the individual goals of your audience, their loyalty towards you is sealed.
If finding the right content is difficult, building aspiration is far more complicated. Nevertheless, once you engage with your audience, cater to their needs, observe their behaviors and value their preferences, it becomes achievable. The primary goal of content marketing is to provide your brand the ability to rise against your competitors and become authoritative in your chosen niche. Ultimately, the secret ingredient in achieving this is to build loyalty by aligning your brand with the individual aspiration of your clients. By doing so, you provide your brand an identity that complements with the uniqueness of your audience.
In the previous paragraphs, it has repeatedly been stated that content marketing is not about your brand but about building your audience. Indeed, you have to create content to build an audience, but you must also work to bolster the identity of your brand. How do you shape your brand’s identity without explicitly promoting it in your content? At this point, you may find this article absurd. At first, it claims that you have to forget about yourself and think of the audience. Now, it is telling you to have an identity – to make the audience see and recognize you through your content. These two things are not contradictory. The truth is that you don’t have to promote yourself to build an identity. The secret is to have a firm voice that relays your company’s message.
Two Things Are Important in Creating an Identity, Being Communicative and Being Consistent
To be communicative, you must have your content not just talk to your audience, but it also must listen to them. The meaning of the term communication in content marketing is the same as the conventional definition of the phrase. You and the audience have to act as the listener and the speaker. Your channels work as the medium to relay your message. The complexity of delivery also stays the same. There are barriers along the way that mean the message could be affected by various factors before you present it to your prospects. Consequently, you have to be very particular in how you deliver your message and how your audience receives it.
Consistency requires your content to speak in a single unwavering voice. For example, if you have been promoting content about clean energy, then you must at no point mention the benefits of nonrenewable resources. Consistency also encompasses the delivery schedule of your content. You must create a rhythm or a cycle in your schedule. You can have a blog post every Saturday, or you can have daily updates on Facebook posted at 8 in the morning. The secret is to have a schedule and always stay on track. Learn from your user engagement and try to experiment. Sometimes being predictable is boring. A few surprises can help boost your reputation but be prudent in doing so.
Consistency requires your content to speak in a single unwavering voice. If you’ve been promoting clean energy, then you must at no point mention the benefits of nonrenewable resources. Consistency also includes the delivery schedule of content. You must create a rhythm or a cycle when you share. You can have a blog post every Saturday, or you can have daily updates on Facebook posted at 8 in the morning. The secret is to have a schedule and to stay always on track. Learn from your user engagement and try to experiment. Sometimes being predictable is boring. A few surprises can help boost your reputation but be prudent in doing so.
Editorial Content and Why It’s the Best
People often say that creating content that works is not simple, but it’s also not overly complicated. Certain content adheres perfectly to these standards, and that is editorial content. This particular form of content is not advertisement-based. Instead, editorial content offers information to the users. Companies that release these kinds of shares are not focused on creating immediate sales but rather on establishing an audience by transforming the brand into an authoritative source in the industry. Editorial content is the right recipe to relay the message of your brand. Eventually, it requires an excellent team of talented marketers to produce top-notch editorial content.
What Are the Options for Small Businesses to Maximize the Potentials of Content Marketing?
The best solution is to start with a specific goal and develop your content to align with it. Focus on a limited channel and observe which pieces work best. You always need to make sure that your content can trigger user engagement. One important thing to remember is that content marketing is not a lightning strategy. It may take months or even years to reap its rewards fully. Nevertheless, it is effective, and it is a very robust method of establishing your brand’s value.
Content marketing can become tedious and complicated. Once you dip your toe in, you need to be consistent and communicative. It could become annoying as the work requirements increase, but you don’t have to do all the work. You can always tap the help of marketing experts that handle the job for you. Outsourcing your content marketing needs will allow you to focus on other parts of your business while at the same time ensuring that it’s done right, according to your standards.
You don’t have to take on the burden of formulating content by yourself. We can help you achieve this. Want to learn more? Contact us today and we’ll show you the bigger picture of how content marketing can build real value for your brand.